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Lineage Networks, Rural Entrepreneurs, and Max Weber


ISBN: 978-0-76231-191-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-336-5

Publication date: 1 July 2005


Nearly a century ago, Max Weber studied Chinese lineage system and argued that the power of the patriarchal sib impeded the emergence of industrial capitalism in China. Recently, Martin Whyte re-evaluated Weber's thesis on the basis of development studies and argued that, rather than an obstacle, Chinese family pattern and lineage ties may have facilitated the economic growth in China since the 1980s. This paper empirically tests the competing hypotheses by focusing on the relationship between lineage networks and the development of rural enterprises. Analyses of village-level data show that lineage networks, measured by proportion of most common surnames, have large positive effects on the count of entrepreneurs and total workforce size of private enterprises in rural China.


Peng, Y. (2005), "Lineage Networks, Rural Entrepreneurs, and Max Weber", Keister, L.A. (Ed.) Entrepreneurship (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 327-355.



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